The CANs and the CAN-Nots

12 thoughts on “The CANs and the CAN-Nots”

  1. Great post. I’ve never experienced any of the negative things that you mention, but then again you were a far, far heavier user than I was.

    Chris’s last blog post..April Wrapup

  2. We’ve giving the Victoria version a try. Thus far, the car we booked was unavailable in one out of the five times we’ve used the service. If that becomes 1 out of 50, I’ll have no complaints. If it’s 1 out of 10, that’s not good.

    My only other impression: there are a crapload of fines for all of the different ways one can screw up.

    For longer periods of time, we just rent a car from Budget or the like. They’ve become incredibly cheap (I recently paid $40 for a 24-hour period), and it still nets out to much cheaper than owning a car.

    Darren’s last blog post..No Thorobaaads or Dumpies

  3. Hi Jen,

    Just wanted to drop a line saying first things first, thanks very much for writing about The Car Co-op on your blog. It sounds as though for the most part, car sharing worked well for you in terms of getting you where you needed to go at the fraction of the financial and environmental cost of individually owning a car. This deserves a “yay!”

    I am, however, terribly sorry to hear that you’ve had some negative experiences with us. These are important issues you’ve brought up. Over the past three months we’ve gone to our members in the form of focus groups (a first in Car Co-op history) to examine our service and find out what we could be doing better. Because of this, we’ve developed and are implementing more rigorous systems for cleaning and maintaining our cars, for example. We’ll also be announcing a new, simpler, pricing structure on Friday.

    As part of the process of improving our business, we’re also looking at how we can provide better member care. You’ve highlighted what you feel needs attention and I can reassure you that your comments haven’t fallen on deaf ears. Our goal, ultimately, is to continue to grow and get more people in Metro Vancouver to give up their car(s) and share cars with us instead. The points you’ve raised, that push us to improve our customer service, will definitely help us get there.

    Please feel free to email me if you have any concerns or comments. I invite any of your other readers who may be Co-op members/drivers to do the same.

    Kind regards,
    Bernadette Amiscaray
    Communications and Marketing Manager
    Co-operative Auto Network
    #205-470 Granville Street
    Vancouver, BC V6C 1V5
    604-685-1395 (Direct)

  4. Hi Bernadette – I’m so glad you replied! I’m awfully pleased that there are things underway to keep improving CAN and keep it the first, best option for Vancouverites to share cars.

    I’m looking forward to seeing updates in the member communications on how things are going. And as I said, I wish car-sharing (from an “I need to get to work” point of view) still worked for us, because for the most part, it was really quite good!

  5. @col I have no idea of the level of service ZipCar provides – I find the cost of their program so much higher than CAN that I don’t think customer-service alone could win me over. However, I did just hear from another ZipCar user today that when the snow fell, ZipCar tagged all their snowed-in cars, to make things easier on Zip-drivers. I still don’t know why CAN didn’t do the same.

  6. We have a corporate membership at Zipcar, so the rates will be slightly different from personal, however the experience has been great. When any of my staff need to travel to a customer site, they book a car the day before and off they go. Corporate has an all-day rate that works for us, so the fact that the car sits unused most of the day isn’t a financial disincentive.
    We’ve had one collision incident that was well dealt with and I’ve had no complaints from Zipcar about any of my drivers (and I’m the corporate contact, so I’m sure I’d hear!). Zipcar has lots of cars downtown and as far east as Commercial Drive area, so if you live any further east then it won’t be convenient for you to pick up a car.

  7. Thanks for sharing that! Like Chris, I’ve not been as heavy a user as you and haven’t experienced any problems. I think that may also be due, somewhat counter-intuitively, to the fact that I live in an area that doesn’t have many co-op cars. The closest car to me is 10 blocks away (there’s a minivan 1 block away but, eww, it’s a minivan!). So, although I have fewer cars to chose from than you, I also have less competition for those cars (they don’t have many cars in my ‘hood because they don’t have many members here). So I don’t seem to run into other users being late with the car, or if I’m running late whenever I’ve called to extend my time there’s never been a user right after me, so it’s not been a problem. The main issue I’ve had with the co-op is that there website needs re-vamping – it’s not very easy to find the info you want.

    I’m also interested in hearing about this new simpler pricing structure that Bernadette mentioned – everytime I try to explain to people how much it costs, the complicated structure turns people off because they can’t figure out how much it will cost!

    Beth’s last blog post..Looking Forward, Looking Back

  8. It makes WAY more sense to include shovels in the cars that are going to be parked off main streets. But I like your option better — snow digging party. Smart idea!

    Much like getting credit for filling the tank and vacuuming the car, you should get some points for digging out a car. Might be tougher to track accurately but worth exploring.

    Nice to see CAN reply to this post and assure you of change.

  9. This is a great review.

    Just as an aside, I read Bernadette’s last name wrong when my eyes first glanced over it. It looks like “Am-scray!”

    I was part of the focus groups she mentioned, and I have to say that there does seem to be a much stronger focus on, and desire to improve, the members’ experience. They have a new Exec Director (CEO? President?) who we met and he seemed like a very good guy — listening, asking the right questions, etc.

    Tod’s last blog post..The dilemma

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